“It was not external influence that made me a singer. Music was within me. I was full of it” – These were the words of the beloved “nightingale of India”, Lata Mangeshkar who passed away on 6th February 2022. She was 92 years old at the time of her death. There was a funeral held at Shivaji Park on the same day. The Indian government announced two days of national mourning for the singer. From Sunday to Monday, the Indian flag was flown at half-staff. In a statement, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs stated, ” There will be no official entertainment “.
“Lata di died at 8:12 a.m. due to multi-organ failure after over 28 days of Covid-19 diagnosis” Dr Pratit Samdani, Mangeshkar’s doctor, told the reporters outside Breach Candy Hospital.
Indian Politicians, as well as Bollywood celebrities, visited the funeral to pay their tributes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated, “I am anguished beyond words. The kind and caring Lata Didi has left us. She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled”. Political leader Mr Thackeray, National Congress Party (NCP), Chief Sharad Pawar, and ruling and opposition leaders all paid tributes. Actors Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor, cricketer legend Sachin Tendulkar and lyricist Javed Akhtar were seen at the funeral paying tributes as well.
Lata Mangeshkar last song was ‘Saugandh Mujhe Is Mitti Ki’ – a tribute to the Indian Army and nation was her last recorded song that was released on March 30, 2019.
Lata Mangeshkar was born as “Hema” in a Marathi speaking family on 28th September 1929. Later on, her parents changed her name to Lata after a female character in her father’s play. Lata’s father, Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar was a known Marathi theatre actor, a Natya Sangeet musician and a Hindustani classical vocalist. She had five siblings, including the famous singers Asha Bhosle and Usha Mangeshkar. She was the eldest sister.
Due to several reasons, Lata Mangeshkar only attended her school for one day and never actually got her education. She also started working in her father’s plays as an actress and as well as started developing her interest in singing at the early age of five.
Beginning Of Her Career
After the early death of her father in 1942, being the eldest, responsibilities came up to Lata Mangeshkar’s shoulder. A friend of her father’s Master Vinayak took care of her family and helped start her career as an actress and singer. She sang as a playback singer in a regional film in 1942 when she was just 13. Her first song was “Naachu Yaa Gade, Khelu Saari Mani Haus Bhaari” in Marathi Movie “Kiti Hasaal”. Though her song did not make it to the final edit.
Lata Mangeshkar’s first Hindi debut song was “Mata Ek Sapoot ki Duniya Badal De Tu” for a Marathi Movie “Gajaabhau” in the very next year 1943. Her father started her training at the early age of five. She was also tutored by maestros such as Aman Ali Khan Sahib and Amanat Khan.
Lata Mangeshkar was mentored by music director Ghulam Haider, whom she mentioned in an interview as her true godfather. Under his guidance, Lataji achieved her first recognition in the song ‘Dil Mera Toda, Mujhe Kahin Ka Na Chhora’ in the 1948 movie Majboor.
Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar‘s younger sister, is also a well-known singer in the Indian music industry. They’ve been close since they were children. As they grew older, they had disagreements; as a child, only Lata Mangeshkar was serious, while Asha Bhosle was a rule-breaker and rebel. But, as families are prone to do, they returned stronger than ever after a long time
As previously stated, she was responsible for four younger siblings. Her entire life was spent unmarried. She devoted her time to working for her family and honing her skills as an artist. She was a fantastic feminist icon who grew up to be a strong and independent woman.
Achievements and Success
Lata Mangeshkar was an extraordinary singer and there are so many awards and titles to prove that. A few of them are Padma Bhushan in 1969; Dada Saheb Phalke award in 1989 formulation; 1999 Bharat Ratna in 2001; “one-time award for lifetime achievement” in 2008 and on her 90th birthday in 2019 she was honoured with the title “daughter of the nation” as her tribute to the Indian music industry. She was the first Indian who performed at the Albert Hall, London.
Lataji receiving the Bharat Ratna from President K.R. Narayanan in 2001.
She won 3 National Film Awards (1972, 1974, 1990), and 12 Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards. She had also won the Filmfare Awards for Best Female Playback Singer four times. She was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.
Lata Mangeshkar was named the most recorded artist in human history by the Guinness Book of Records in 1974, noting that she had recorded “not less than 25,000 solo, duet, and chorus backed songs in 20 Indian languages” between 1948 and 1974. According to the book’s later data, she sang around 30,000 songs.
The ‘Lata’ era has come to an end with the demise of our beloved nightingale. Her contribution, however, will stay with us forever in our hearts. She might not be with us today, but her presence will be felt whenever the art of music will be discussed.